How to choose and replace an electrical outlet

The elec­tri­cal out­let also has its own ser­vice life and even­tu­al­ly becomes unus­able. How­ev­er, do not wait until it becomes unsafe to use — it is bet­ter to replace it with a new one.

Important parameters when choosing an outlet

It is nec­es­sary to select a new sock­et or oth­er elec­tri­cal instal­la­tion prod­uct for replace­ment not only in appear­ance, but also in terms of tech­ni­cal para­me­ters.

Rated current

Mod­ern sock­ets are designed for a cur­rent of 16 A, which cor­re­sponds to a max­i­mum load of approx­i­mate­ly 3.6 kW, they can­not be used to con­nect elec­tric stoves and oth­er pow­er­ful appli­ances. When choos­ing, con­sid­er whether you need a sock­et with or with­out ground­ing.

socket box

A stan­dard sock­et box (the so-called mount­ing box in the wall into which elec­tri­cal instal­la­tion prod­ucts are installed) has a diam­e­ter of 65–70 mm, and its depth can be from 46 to 80 mm for dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers and in dif­fer­ent series. There­fore, when choos­ing a replace­ment prod­uct, it makes sense to first dis­man­tle the old out­let and find out what the dimen­sions of the sock­et are in your case.

If sev­er­al sock­ets are installed in a com­mon hous­ing, a frame must be pur­chased for them, which is usu­al­ly sold sep­a­rate­ly. The sock­ets, in addi­tion, must have addi­tion­al con­nec­tors for con­nect­ing a con­nect­ing jumper (a wire con­nect­ing a pair of sock­ets into one cir­cuit).

Retainer

Old style sock­ets use screw ter­mi­nals on the wires, but they loosen over time and require peri­od­ic check­ing and tight­en­ing. Mod­ern elec­tri­cal instal­la­tion prod­ucts have a design with a screw­less wire retain­er, which sim­pli­fies instal­la­tion and does not require peri­od­ic inspec­tion. Such mod­els are avail­able from ABB, Jung, Legrand, Schnei­der Elec­tric and oth­er major man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The design of the wire clamp with a screw­less latch: 1 — sock­et for the plug, 2 — pow­er wire, 3 — latch. This design ensures con­stant con­tact of the con­duc­tors, which does not weak­en over time. In addi­tion, prod­ucts with screw­less clamps are eas­i­er to mount than mod­els with screw clamps.

Ordi­nary sock­ets and euro sock­ets dif­fer in the diam­e­ter of the holes for the plug con­nec­tors. In euro sock­ets, the con­nec­tors are wider. There­fore, new plugs do not fit into Sovi­et-style sock­ets, and old Sovi­et plugs in euro sock­ets dan­gle and over­heat due to poor con­tact. It may even be one of the caus­es of a fire.

Contact material

If we com­pare the con­tact groups in cheap and expen­sive wiring prod­ucts, the dif­fer­ence will be notice­able. Cheap con­tacts made of thin brass oxi­dize and deform over time. High-qual­i­ty con­tacts are made of tin-plat­ed brass or even bronze. These are more reli­able and durable mate­ri­als.

Index of protection against dust and moisture

The secu­ri­ty index con­sists of Latin let­ters IP and two num­bers fol­low­ing them. The first dig­it indi­cates the degree of pro­tec­tion against the ingress of solids, it can vary from 0 (no pro­tec­tion) to 6 (com­plete pro­tec­tion against dust). The sec­ond dig­it indi­cates the degree of pro­tec­tion against mois­ture pen­e­tra­tion, it can vary from 0 to 8).

Other defense mechanisms

In homes with small chil­dren, it is rec­om­mend­ed to use sock­ets with spe­cial pro­tec­tion. The sock­ets of their con­nec­tors in the non-work­ing state are closed with shut­ters, which open only when pressed simul­ta­ne­ous­ly with a cer­tain force. Cur­tains pre­vent dust from enter­ing the out­let and increase its reli­a­bil­i­ty.

There are also sock­ets with a plug ejec­tion mech­a­nism — it cat­a­pults the plug out of the sock­et when a but­ton or a rotary lever is pressed. In addi­tion to con­ve­nience, this design of the sock­et pre­vents it from loos­en­ing in the wall, which is espe­cial­ly impor­tant when installing sock­ets in rel­a­tive­ly frag­ile inte­ri­or par­ti­tions.

Features depending on the place and method of installation

When choos­ing one or anoth­er type of out­let for instal­la­tion, con­sid­er its design fea­tures in advance. Say, for a coun­try wood­en house, you may need wiring acces­sories for out­door wiring. For bath­rooms and oth­er wet rooms, you will need sock­ets with a water­proof hous­ing (IP pro­tec­tion index of at least 44). For poor­ly lit cor­ri­dors, illu­mi­nat­ed sock­ets can be rec­om­mend­ed.

Sock­ets with­out ground­ing are designed to con­nect low-pow­er devices and light­ing fix­tures; such mod­els can­not be installed in wet rooms.

Instructions for replacing the socket

Before start­ing work on replac­ing the out­let, do not for­get to de-ener­gize the net­work. Check the absence of volt­age in the net­work using an indi­ca­tor screw­driv­er. If the light­ing is turned off at the same time as the sock­ets, take care to stock up on an autonomous light source. Now you can start dis­man­tling the old out­let.

Dismantling the old outlet

First, the front pan­el is removed, and then the dec­o­ra­tive frame. In old­er out­lets, the front pan­el is secured with a screw, which is usu­al­ly locat­ed in the cen­ter of the pan­el. If there is no fix­ing screw, then the pan­el is fas­tened with latch­es. Remove it by gen­tly pry­ing with a screw­driv­er. To remove the sock­et mech­a­nism, it is nec­es­sary to loosen the spac­er tabs that fix the sock­et in the sock­et.

Then the mech­a­nism is care­ful­ly removed so as not to dam­age the wires, and dis­con­nect­ed from them.

Installing a new outlet

The new mech­a­nism is mount­ed in the reverse order.

  1. The front pan­el is mount­ed on a screw clamp.
  2. To mount a group of elec­tri­cal instal­la­tion prod­ucts, it is nec­es­sary to accu­rate­ly cal­cu­late their posi­tion so that they are lined up in one line. If nec­es­sary, the mount­ing grooves allow you to slight­ly adjust the exact posi­tion of the out­let.
  3. Wires are con­nect­ed to the sock­ets, and then they are installed in the sock­ets.

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